There really wasn’t a lot of reason at halftime of the Seahawks’ first game this year against the Rams to imagine what lay ahead.

The Seahawks trailed 17-13 but it felt a lot worse as the Rams scored on drives of 70, 77 and 93 yards in gaining 275 yards overall, averaging 7.4 per play.

That included the Rams averaging 5 yards per rush and quarterback Jared Goff completing 17 of 22 passes for 221 yards. Other than Goff losing a fumble on a Jamal Adams blitz and strip sack, the Rams had pretty much done whatever they wanted on offense in the first two quarters — pretty much as most teams had in the eight games the Seahawks had played before that point.

The Seahawks entered that game allowing an average of 455 yards — last in the NFL and on pace to break the average of 440 by the 2011 Saints that is the worst in NFL history — and 30.4 points, 30th in the NFL.

The first half of the first game against the Rams seemed like more of the same.

There really wasn’t any reason after the Rams’ first possession of the second half to imagine what lay ahead, either.


After stopping Seattle on its first possession, the Rams took over at their 12 and in 14 plays drove for another TD — a drive that actually went 95 yards due to penalties.

But at that point, with the Seahawks trailing 23-13, having allowed 363 yards on just six possessions and less than 42 minutes of game time, something clicked.

Since then, a team on pace to go down as one of the worst in NFL history  suddenly became one of the best defenses in the league.

The Seahawks didn’t allow another point to the Rams that day and in the five games since have given up an average of just 16 points a game — the lowest in the NFL and seven points fewer than the Seahawks had allowed in any single game to that point.

So what happened?

As the Seahawks get set for another game against the Rams, one that on Sunday will probably decide the NFC West — a win clinches the division for the Seahawks — it’s worth reviewing.

According to defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., the Seahawks had something of a moment of reckoning at halftime.


“It was one of those moments where you’ve got to decide if you’re going to handle the storm,’’ Norton said this week in a Zoom session with media. “If you’re going to handle all the things that are happening or if you’re going to give into it. And the guys really came together. It was a game that we really felt like the second half that it was one of those moments that the guys really came together and really understood what the plan was, really played and communicated together. And I think from that point on it’s been pretty solid.’’

Indeed, Seattle held the Rams to just 19 yards on the final 19 plays of the game. One could point out that on two of the plays, the Rams were their own worst enemy, something that has been a theme for a team that is 9-5 despite ranking eighth in offense and first in defense. 

On one of those four series, Josh Reynolds dropped a pass in the open for what would have been a big gain. On another, Goff misfired on a pass to a wide open Tyler Higbee on a play that might have put the Rams inside Seattle’s 10.

But numbers are what they are — a Seahawks team still allowing 387 yards per game and ranked 26th in the NFL hasn’t allowed more than 353 in the five games since the loss to the Rams, and no more than 314 in the past four.

Playing offenses such as the Eagles, Jets and Washington certainly has helped.

So has the addition of Carlos Dunlap and the return to full health of Adams, who overnight seemed to revive the pass rush. Seattle’s 31 sacks the past eight games are five more than any other team in the NFL.


“Once we start getting after the quarterback it makes life easier for everybody,’’ linebacker Bobby Wagner said.

Other players such as Benson Mayowa and Rasheem Green also got healthy.

The Seahawks also seemed to figure out better how to use their blitzes and have been a little more judicious about them — Seattle’s blitz rate, currently at 35% and 10th in the NFL via Pro Football Reference has been pretty constant all year — while fitting that with less aggressive zone coverage in the back end (Seattle has been in zone more than 70% of the time this year, one of the highest rates in the NFL). 

Coach Pete Carroll this week also reiterated what he’s said often, that the number of key new players and injuries that caused some adjusting just meant it took a while for the defense to come together.

“New players, they need to learn our system,’’ Carroll said. “They need to understand it. They need to play together with guys, all of that. Honestly, I never felt like it wasn’t going to happen and we weren’t going to turn it around. I was just really impatient and frustrated by it. Since the turn of the second half here, we’ve been a different team on defense, and it feels like we’re going in the right direction.’’

The resurgence truly took hold the next week to key a critical 28-21 win over Arizona. 


Seattle has allowed just 37 points in four games since.

But that came against the far-from-muderer’s-row offenses of the Eagles, Giants, Jets and Washington, all teams that rank 25th or lower in points per game and 22nd or lower in yards.

The Rams will be a different challenge. Los Angeles is eighth in the NFL in total yards per game at 383.2, though due to some inefficiency just 17th in points scored at 24.6.

The Rams, though, have often had their way with Seattle’s defense in recent years, scoring 23 points or more in the past six games. 

In response to a question about the defensive turnaround this week, Carroll said it was no longer worth considering that the defense now has any real similarities to the one of the first half of the year.

“Whatever happened before is long gone for us now,’’ Carroll said.

Sunday will prove just how long gone it really is.

Seahawks rule out RB Dallas, while Iupati is doubtful

The Seahawks’ game status report released Friday was pretty light.

Seattle ruled out rookie running back DeeJay Dallas with an ankle injury suffered against Washington and listed guard Mike Iupati, who left that game with a neck injury, as doubtful. Right tackle Brandon Shell (ankle) and safety Damarious Randall (foot) are questionable. Dallas, Randall and Iupati all sat out practice Friday.


But no other players were listed, most notably defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who sat out practice Wednesday and Thursday with a chest injury. Reed was not given a game designation indicating he’s good to go.

Reed and Shell were each listed as limited in practice Friday, as were defensive end Carlos Dunlap (foot) and defensive tackle Damon Harrison (knee/resting veteran).

If Iupati can’t play then Jordan Simmons will start again at left guard. And if Shell can’t go then Cedric Ogbuehi will start at right tackle.

Seattle has just 51 players on its current 53-player roster and could add one or two by Saturday, notably tight end Greg Olsen, who returned to practice last week.

The Rams ruled out running back Cam Akers (ankle) but did not have any other players on the game status report.